Bengal government’s Covid-19 portal ‘Benvax’ comes under central scanner
The Covid-19 digital portal launched by the West Bengal government has come under the scanner of the Union government, following allegations of irregularities raised by the leader of the opposition (LoP) of the state’s legislative assembly.
Senior health officials of the Mamata Banerjee administration, however, said that the portal ‘Benvax’ is integrated with the centre’s CoWIN app, which forms the backbone of the Covid-19 vaccine drive.
“LOP, WB Assembly Sh @SuvenduWB Ji visited Delhi yesterday to discuss repercussions of an alternative digital platform, not authorised by GoI, allegedly being used in WB to carry out #VaccinationDrive. The matter is being investigated,” Union health minister Harsh Vardhan tweeted late on Friday night.
The tweet came a day after, BJP legislator Suvendu Adhikari sent a letter to Vardhan alleging that in some vaccination camps in West Bengal the CoWin registration aren’t being sought and people were being given vaccination certificates with the photo of chief minister Mamata Banerjee through Benvax portal.
“Such a move shall give wind to distrust regarding #VaccinationDrive, not to mention difficulties people may face in verifying authenticity of inoculation,” tweeted Vardhan.
Top health officials of the state health department, however, rubbished the charges and clarified that the Benvax portal was integrated with the CoWin app on a real-time basis, with some additional features.
“Benvax, which an initiative of the West Bengal government is integrated on a real-time basis with the centre’s CoWIN. One gets the vaccine certificate from Benvax only after registration with the CoWIN. The recipient gets all the SMS and certificate from CoWIN. Benvax gives them an additional certificate with the chief minister’s photo and has some additional features like sending SMS for the second dose after importing data from CoWIN and also helps to identify some groups like the super spreaders,” said a senior official of the state health department.
While the certificate downloaded from CoWIN has a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the certificate downloaded from Benvax bears a photo of CM Mamata Banerjee.
Meanwhile, the Centre has asked the West Bengal government to file a report by Thursday in the fake Covid-19 vaccination camps busted by the Kolkata Police last week even as the Calcutta high court directed the state to file an affidavit in the matter by Friday.
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